Two Blackpool police officers have been given National Police Bravery awards for risking their lives trying to stop two men throwing themselves off 50ft high scaffolding.
Sgt Rick Frith and Det Con Kim Carbutt responded to reports two men in their 20s were sat at the top of scaffolding, around the wedding chapel on Blackpool Promenade, now known as Festival House.
Officers had been told one of the men was a patient at Parkwood Hospital, which cares for people with mental health problems, and that he and his friend had entered a suicide pact.
The pair were sat with cord around their necks, 50ft in the air on scaffolding that had no safety barriers and were described as being in a very agitated state.
Det Con Carbutt and Sgt Frith entered the construction site at around 4.30am on a day in May 2011 and climbed up around 30ft to the floor below the pair.
Keeping calm, they managed to talk down one of the men.
However, the second man refused and lowered himself through a gap in the scaffolding boards so he was dangling only by a cord around his neck.
Det Carbutt instinctively grabbed the man by reaching into the gap supporting himself only by grabbing hold of a metal pole.
The patient, who had momentarily lost consciousness, was pulled on to the scaffolding and the officers cut the cord from his neck.
When he came round he started struggling violently, telling them he wanted to go over the side.
At this point both officers were in danger of falling but they managed to restrain the man and bring him down safely.
The man was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and went on to receive treatment.
Rachel Baines, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, said: “The actions of these two officers were extremely brave, they put their lives at risk and showed tremendous courage in order to save a life. The people of Lancashire should quite rightly be proud of them both”.
The pair’s “tremendous bravery” was recognised at a special award ceremony in Downing Street attended by both the Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May.
Sgt Frith was nominated for Community Beat Manager of the Year back in 1999 when he was the beat officer responsible for Grange Park.
Then he was also invited to London, to St James’ Palace, where he was introduced Prince Charles.
The 18th Police Bravery Awards, hosted in partnership with The Police Mutual Assurance Society, honours Police Officers across England and Wales for their actions to tackle criminals and keep the public safe.
“We did what any other officer would do...”
Father-of-three Sgt Rick Frith, 43, has been a police officer for 18 years. He said: “This was an extremely frightening incident and an incident doesn’t leave you easily.
“We were simply doing our job and I’m sure that anyone who saw a fellow human being in such a state of despair would have done everything they could to help.”
Det Con Kim Carbutt, 44, a father-of-two added: “It was a very humbling experience to visit Downing Street and be in the company of so many officers who have shown extreme acts of bravery.
“It is a huge privilege to be nominated for the award but I am sure any of my colleagues would have done the same.”